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Asuncion, Paraguay - Take The Time To Have A Good Look Around This City

Paraguay experiences and stories by a backpacker - May 2009 June 2012 April 2016   » View Photoset (143 Photos)

My 2nd and 3rd times in Asuncion were fantastic and I got to see much of the city. It was raining the 1st time I came here in 2009 and I just passed through after staying the night across the road from the bus terminal. I then travelled by bus over the Paraguay River into Argentina to Corrientes the next day. When I came here the 2nd time in 2012 I arrived from Paraguari 2hrs south/east and stayed a couple of nights and on my 3rd time in 2016 I travelled from Resistencia in Argentina up to Clorinda across the river from Asuncion to get here. Asuncion is a city full of beaux arts architecture and colonial buildings. A place where you will likely see a horse and cart in the middle of the city amongst the traffic. Asuncion is quite a safe place and the people are friendly too. They will often ask you to take their photo or smile for the camera if they see you are taking a picture - that's a complete contrast to Bolivia I must say. I found a hostel near the historical center around the corner from Plaza Uruguaya so this was the first place I visited. It's a beautiful big leafy plaza with a central monument of Artigas holding his hat. There are a number of white statue artworks of women including a ballerina, Venus or Aphrodite (they are not sure which one she is) and to the mothers. The locals like to sit and play checkers on the park benches. Beside the plaza is a monument to Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (1753-1811) - a Mexican priest and independence leader. Asuncion had been celebrating its bicentennial and around this part of the city were dozens of pictures on street lamp poles of famous and important people of Paraguay. Don't worry I won't name them all! Walking along the street I came to a shop with some really cool wooden sculptured figures of natives painted black with big red lips outside on the sidewalk. I now came to Plaza Juan E. O'Leary, a nice park, lots of trees and a monument obviously to Juan E. O'Leary (1879-1969), an historian, journalist, politician and poet. Next I saw the landmark building called the National Pantheon of the Heroes and its plaza. The Panteon Nacional de los Heroes building keeps the remains of some famous figures and is kept under military guard. It's quite a sight with the dome, tall columns and flags flying all around it. It took over 70yrs to construct commencing in 1863. On the street beside the Panteon, indigenous Guarani women were selling some beautiful and colorful hand-crafted jewelry - bracelets, necklaces, wristbands and rings. Across the road on the corner is another outstanding building - the Ministerio de Hacienda, green in color, with a dome, arched doorways and many balconies. On this street corner were several stalls selling touristy type things made from leather and wood, souvenirs basically. Nearby is the pinkish building Municipal Theatre Ignacio A. Pane built in 1843. A couple of minutes walk away is Plaza Independencia with its diagonal checkered pattern on the ground and tall slim monument in the middle. Beside the plaza is Asuncions attractive cathedral which was constructed from 1842-1845, it's right beside the Paraguay River and strangely a little shanty village where kids play outside their shacks and come up to the street and ask people for money. The Legislative Palace is close-by, a pink building with many archways on 2 levels, it was inaugurated in 1857. In front of the palace is a statue of Asuncions founder - Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar y Espinoza (1508-1560). Continuing my leg-powered exploration of Asuncion I came now to a huge monument of a man on horseback, it is not stated who it is, there are couple of huge cannons at the foot of the tall pedestal. As I walked in the direction of the Government Palace I photographed some really fantastic graffiti art painted on rugged building facades, there is beauty in the derelict sometimes. The Government Palace is quite something, a huge neoclassical building of white and pink with well-kept lawns, red flower gardens and yellow/green hedges. It's also known as the Palacio de los Lopez and was finished in 1867. Across the road I could see good views of the river from Plaza de los Desaparecidos, this plaza also has a diagonal checkered pattern and some palm trees. On the riverbanks some serious remodeling was in progress - the construction of Parque Bicentenario, a park with 13 hectares of new public space and beaches. I look forward to seeing it next time I visit the city. I made my way towards the port area, there is a small shady plaza there where men stand and play some kind of card game that they take quite seriously. There are some head casts of ex-President Alfredo Stroessner (1912-2006), Isabel (Mother of America) and Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) (1451-1506). I looked out at the river at days end, it's quite beautiful. I could see the beach over to the right. I walked back to the hostel and passed by Casa Viola (Viola House) which was the first house restored in the cultural center, built in the 1750's, it is now a museum. Next morning I changed hostels to be closer to the bus terminal for a quick getaway the following day and spent this day seeing more of Asuncion. This included the amazing Saturday markets - Mercado Guasu (La Gran Feria de los Mercaderos), 50-70% off normal prices! It's an extremely busy market full of activity, it really becomes the center of Asuncion on Saturdays. I created a video of what it is like, see here. Other sights I saw were the castle-like church Iglesia de la Encarnacion, Independence House (Casa de la Independencia), Plaza de la Democracia and inside the cathedral. I bought something for my girlfriend from a Guarani women and sat down for a nice yummy Arabic kebab. Most of the city were glued to their TV sets watching a soccer match between Paraguay and Bolivia by late afternoon as I walked and bussed back to my budget hotel. Next morning I travelled for 8 and a half hours north through the Gran Chaco to Filadelfia. During my 3rd visit I did a day trip from Asuncion to Aregua and Itaugua, then returned. When I did leave I headed to the lake at San Bernardino (2hrs) and Caacupe (25mins more).

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My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Asuncion, Paraguay:
Hotel Miami, Asuncion, Paraguay - Large Photo
Hotel Miami, Asuncion, Paraguay (April 2016 - 4 nights) - Although not anything to look at from the outside the rooms are actually pretty good and a fantastic deal at $14USD per night. The hotel has a great central city location very close to Plaza Uruguaya and just a couple of streets from bars, restaurants, shops and the cities sights. The owners are nice people. The wifi works well and the bed is good. Recommended!
Hostal El Jardin, Asuncion, Paraguay - Large Photo
Hostal El Jardin, Asuncion, Paraguay (June 2012 - 1 night) - Nice relaxing hostel and gardens with hammocks. I hope they have got new mattresses so you don't sink down to the bed boards. If so, then I can recommend it. Friendly staff.
Hotel Yasy, Asuncion, Paraguay - Large Photo
Hotel Yasy, Asuncion, Paraguay (May 2009 - 1 night, June 2012 - 1 night) - Across the road from the bus terminal, very basic room and not a fantastic bathroom and not very quiet being on the main road, but convenient. Some restaurants are right outside the door but there is nothing else to see in the area along the street. It's run by a nice lady. Recommended.

Distances & times (if available) from Asuncion (Paraguay) to:
 A : Aregua & Itaugua - Paraguay 23 kms 23 kms straight distance | 1hr 10mins 1hr 10mins by car (31 kms) | 1hr 24mins 1hr 24mins by bus (31 kms) (31 kms)
 B : San Bernardino & Caacupe - Paraguay 40 kms 40 kms straight distance | 1hr 38mins 1hr 38mins by car (56 kms) | 1hr 57mins 1hr 57mins by bus (56 kms) (56 kms)
 C : Paraguari - Paraguay 82 kms 82 kms straight distance | 2hrs 21mins 2hrs 21mins by car (111 kms) | 2hrs 49mins 2hrs 49mins by bus (111 kms) (111 kms)
 D : Ybycui & Ybycui National Park - Paraguay 102 kms 102 kms straight distance | 2hrs 32mins 2hrs 32mins by car (126 kms) | 3hrs 2mins 3hrs 2mins by bus (126 kms) (126 kms)
 E : Villarrica - Paraguay 127 kms 127 kms straight distance | 2hrs 59mins 2hrs 59mins by car (151 kms) | 3hrs 34mins 3hrs 34mins by bus (151 kms) (151 kms)
 F : Oviedo to Villarrica - Paraguay 127 kms 127 kms straight distance | 3hrs 7mins 3hrs 7mins by car (173 kms) | 3hrs 44mins 3hrs 44mins by bus (173 kms) (173 kms)
 G : Ciudad del Este to La Colmena to Ybycui - Paraguay 163 kms 163 kms straight distance | 3hrs 36mins 3hrs 36mins by car (182 kms) | 4hrs 19mins 4hrs 19mins by bus (182 kms) (182 kms)
 H : Encarnacion to Paraguari - Paraguay 160 kms 160 kms straight distance | 3hrs 35mins 3hrs 35mins by car (206 kms) | 4hrs 18mins 4hrs 18mins by bus (206 kms) (206 kms)
 I : Gran Chaco - Paraguay 230 kms 230 kms straight distance | 3hrs 50mins 3hrs 50mins by car (274 kms) | 4hrs 36mins 4hrs 36mins by bus (274 kms) (274 kms)
 J : Ciudad del Este - Paraguay 287 kms 287 kms straight distance | 5hrs 22mins 5hrs 22mins by car (312 kms) | 6hrs 26mins 6hrs 26mins by bus (312 kms) (312 kms)
 K : Foz do Iguaçu - Brazil 307 kms 307 kms straight distance | 5hrs 42mins 5hrs 42mins by car (332 kms) | 6hrs 50mins 6hrs 50mins by bus (332 kms) (332 kms)
 L : Resistencia - Argentina 277 kms 277 kms straight distance | 4hrs 57mins 4hrs 57mins by car (342 kms) | 5hrs 56mins 5hrs 56mins by bus (342 kms) (342 kms)
 M : Encarnacion & the Jesuit Ruins - Paraguay 275 kms 275 kms straight distance | 5hrs 44mins 5hrs 44mins by car (365 kms) | 6hrs 52mins 6hrs 52mins by bus (365 kms) (365 kms)
 N : Posadas - Argentina 286 kms 286 kms straight distance | 6hrs 9mins 6hrs 9mins by car (421 kms) | 7hrs 22mins 7hrs 22mins by bus (421 kms) (421 kms)
 O : Concepcion - Paraguay 209 kms 209 kms straight distance | 5hrs 39mins 5hrs 39mins by car (422 kms) | 6hrs 46mins 6hrs 46mins by bus (422 kms) (422 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.
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